Lunchtime Keynotes: You're In Sales Now


Jory Des Jardins, @JoryD
Nelly Yusupova, @DigitalWoman
Teneshia Jackson Warner, @EgamiConsulting

Teneshia: Most people don't realize we all have a job in sales. If you're trying to convince your husband we should take a vacation, you're selling! Embrace the salesperson inside, because believe it or not you've been a salesperson your entire life. Being prepared is important: practice your pitch. Have a service mentality: selling is serving - how can you support them in meeting their objectives. Now there's a model out there called Purpose-Driven Marketing. Connect with what the value is for them.

Jory: Founders are the best people to sell the vision of the company, so it's a wasted opportunity if we're not willing to sell. That said, there are some skills involved. How were you able to develop the tangible skills to sell your company?

Teneshia Warner, Nelly Yusupova and Jory Des Jardins

Teneshia: We're in the business of selling ideas. That includes the program management. You have to understand your pricing model. Study competitors to know the price value of what you're offering. Believe in the value of what you're selling so you're comfortable to ask for the dollars.

Nelly: Negotiate on value rather than price. If you can convince them that what you have to offer is really valuable and they must have it, they will pay whatever your ask. At Webgrrls, we have a sales process:

  • * Establish rapport by finding a commonality.
  • * Find the needs. Ask the question, "What do you do?" first to understand their needs.
  • * Build value based on what you bring to the table to meet their needs.
  • * Create desire. Using research is key here. E..g. "3 things you can do right now that will keep you from losing thousands of dollars."
  • * Closing the sale: The Ask

Deliver and follow-up. It is much easier to sell to an existing client than get a new one. So the follow-up is critical: sending information, responding to requests.

Teneshia: Closing the sale may take 3-6 months. The follow-up process is part of that. For building the rapport, leverage social media to find commonality, likes and dislikes. Important: Visualize closing the deal when going into the pitch.

Jory: Flexibility is really important. We knew when we started BlogHer that there was a need, but it took a lot of translation to learn to speak Madison Avenue and adjust to how the marketplace could take in our product. They want the market to come to them. You have to figure out how your client sees the world and adjust to that.

Jory: Talk about your preparation. How do you get yourself & your teams ready for a meeting.

Nelly: 1) Research. 2) Write down possible objections and responses. 3) Role play. Be so well-rehearsed that you are more relaxed and it seems spontaneous. - I know all my pitches so well that every time I say them I own them, I say them with passion, I know the information, and I''m more confident and can adjust to the situation.

Teneshia: The most important is the rehearsing. I practice in front of a mirror. Research their competitors deeply and know how your solution compares and better meets their needs. Think differently and boldly. Be creative - big ideas and creativity make sales. "Having fun is a mandate."

Jory: My best preparation is ongoing. I do more selling outside of meetings than in. I read religiously so I know what's going on understand the client when I meet them.

Jory: How do you manage developing relationships?

Teneshia: I plan the conferences I want to attend over the year, and stop investing in those that don't deliver leads. Map out the conferences and networking meetings you need to attend. Stay in touch with people you've met so when you run into them at next year's conference there's still a connection. She does an email blast about once a month. Do lunches to build the relationship, not just sell. I try to schedule at least one lunch a week with a new contact. You have to make time to stay connected on a personal basis.

Nelly: For a really important relationship I'll send them an article that I think will be useful for them. It keeps you top of mind. Our advantage as entrepreneurs is that we're passionate about what we're selling. You speak that passion with body language, facial expression: that sells and makes it worth getting together face-to-face.

Jory: Some of the best sellers I know aren't extroverts but connectors and resources.


Audience Member: I'm thinking about how much I undermine myself, so how might we do that in a sales situation?

Nelly: We do that all the time. For example, we'll volunteer that we don't meet ALL of the requirements of the job. Stop It!

Jory: We want to be perfect. "A client doesn't expect perfection; they want to be heard."

Audience Member: What are the challenges that women and women of color specifically face in selling, and some strategies for addressing those?

Teneshia: When I walk through a door I have the confidence that I belong there, and sometimes I don't even notice I'm the only woman of color.

Nelly: Yes, it's all in your head. I am often the only woman and I have to face the assumption that I don't know what I'm talking about. But I don't mind going the extra step to show them that I know what I'm doing. Show them that you are there with your expertise and your confidence.


[Editor's note: The transcript above reflects what the liveblogger heard, to the best of her ability, but is not a verbatim transcript of the session. As such, it may contain abbreviations or paraphrases.]